Your Guide to Buying an AWD Hybrid in 2020
No longer a limited or experimental feature, there are now hybrid versions of many popular makes, including all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicles. While hybrid and AWD sound like the best of all worlds (or a contradiction), it generally means a more expensive vehicle, since hybrid and all-wheel drive options, separately, tend to push vehicles to the top of the price range.
But what you’ll end up with is a vehicle capable of handling year-round road conditions with improved mileage, though likely not as good as the gas savings you’d typically notice from going hybrid with other vehicles. Our picks had to be highly rated by Kelley Blue Book (KBB) experts, consumers on Edmunds and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and/or Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), when available.
Best all-wheel drive hybrid sedans and hatchbacks
- 2020 Toyota Prius LE AWD-e
- 2020 Subaru Crosstrek Plug-In Hybrid
- 2019 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD
Best all-wheel drive hybrid SUVs
- 2019 Mercedes GLC 350e 4MATIC
- 2020 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD
- 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
Best AWD hybrid sedans and hatchbacks
If you’re looking for a hybrid sedan or hatchback with AWD during inclement weather, these top-rated vehicles have been turning heads.
- 52 city, 48 highway MPG
- 4.4 out of 5 by KBB experts; 5 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (1 review)
- 5 stars NHTSA
Toyota rolled out a new Toyota Prius for 2019, with a new all-wheel drive option (AWD-e), and not much has changed for 2020. Like last year, the option shaves off some of the mileage that can be found in the base front-wheel drive models — 52 MPG combined compared with 58 MPG. You must choose the LE or the XLE trim to get AWD. The LE AWD-e trim adds $2,610 to the base model price. The XLE trim adds $5,050. That puts it right around the same price as Toyota’s plug-in Prius Prime which has an estimated 133 MPG equivalent but no AWD option. TSS-P, Toyota’s safety package for the Prius, is a standard feature. It has all sorts of technology to keep you from danger on the road, such as pedestrian detection, lane departure alerts and steering assist. But watch out, if you love Android Auto, it still isn’t included in the 2020 Prius although Apple CarPlay has been added.
- 90 MPGe
- $35,145 MSRP
- 4.6 out of 5 by KBB experts; 5 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (1 review)
- Not yet rated by NHTSA; 2019 IIHS Top Safety Pick
What consumers seem to love about this hatchback is that it can do a lot. It’s versatile in tough terrain because of its standard AWD and raised suspension, loaded with safety features and is a plug-in hybrid on top of all that. Its steering-responsive headlights helped earn it a 2019 Top Safety Pick designation and these come standard with the vehicle. Its multimedia package does include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus it has Wi-Fi connectivity so passengers can stream their favorite playlist. The hybrid also boasts standard heated front seats and an available heated steering wheel.
- 28 city, 29 highway MPG
- $61,900 MSRP
- 4 out of 5 by KBB experts; not yet rated by consumers on Edmunds
- 5 stars NHTSA
There’s a 2020 version, also starting at $61,900, but with few changes and lacking full reviews, we’re focusing on the 2019 model, for now. Popular standard safety features include adaptive cruise control, which sets and maintains your own speed (you can even use it to come to a stop) and lane assistance, which will alert you if you drift out of your lane and put others in danger. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are missing from the entertainment system but Milano heated leather seats, leather steering wheel and jewel LED lights are standard features with the sport hybrid package. Take away the hybrid and the vehicle is available for $7,000 less, at a starting MSRP of $54,900, but the AWD is only available with the sport hybrid.
2019 BMW 530e XDrive
- 29 MPG combined, 72 MPGe combined
- $55,700 MSRP
- 4.6 out of 5 by KBB experts; 4.2 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (18 reviews)
- Not rated by NHTSA; 2019 IIHS Top Safety Pick
This luxury car, with all-wheel drive if you choose the XDrive trim, combines the comfort of a sedan with the efficiency of a hybrid and the curb appeal of a BMW. Though the 5 Series includes different options, if you’re specifically committed to getting a hybrid then it’s the 530e you’ll need. The 4-cylinder gasoline engine on the plug-in hybrid is combined with an electric motor. Upgrades to the hybrid AWD drive include a choice of performance packages. A 2020 model of the of the BMW 530e XDrive is available with a starting MSRP of $56,200, but lacking full reviews as of press time, we focused on the 2019 version for now.
Best AWD hybrid SUVs
If you’re after a bigger vehicle but want to stay hybrid, these AWD hybrid SUVs could be a good fit for you.
- 56 MPGe, 25 combined
- $50,650 MSRP
- 4.6 out of 5 by KBB experts; 3.9 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (26 reviews)
- Not rated by NHTSA; 2019 IIHS Top Safety Pick
The GLC has three models, the 300, 300 4MATIC and the 350e 4MATIC. Of these, only the 350e is a plug-in hybrid with standard AWD and also sits at the highest price point. The 350e includes a robust suite of safety technology, including adaptive braking and collision alerts, and boasts an acceleration of 0 to 60 in 6.2 seconds. The driver assist package, for an added $2,250, includes features such as blind spot assistance, speed limit assistance and pedestrian recognition. For entertainment, the SUV has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for an extra $350, plus it comes with in-car Wi-Fi. As of press time, the 2020 model was not available.
- 26 city, 27 highway MPG
- $52,900 MSRP
- 4.6 out of 5 by KBB experts; 4.0 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (9 reviews)
- 5 stars NHTSA
The three-row MDX comes as a hybrid with standard AWD when you choose one of two packages, the lower-priced Technology Package or the more expensive Advance Package for an MSRP of $59,650. The Advance Package has a number of luxurious upgrades and safety technology to entice buyers to a higher price point. It boats heated rear seats, a surround-view camera and head-up display. For drivers who don’t want to upgrade, the Technology Package safety features are robust in their own right. Vehicles are outfitted with collision mitigation braking, lane keeping technology and adaptive cruise control.
- 29 city, 27 highway MPG
- $37,520 MSRP
- 4.4 out of 5 by KBB experts; 4.6 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (13 reviews)
- 5 stars NHTSA; 2019 IIHS Top Safety Pick
A redesigned 2020 model is in the works but wasn’t available for purchase of press time, so we’ll focus on the 2019 model, for now. Each hybrid Highlander has standard AWD, but the price above is for the lowest-priced LE trim. While some consumers take issue with the cramped third row, competitors who are nearby in price, like Volkswagen’s 2019 Atlas at $30,895, don’t have hybrid options. Toyota’s Safety Sense features are standard, including pedestrian detection and lane departure alerts. One thing that isn’t standard or even available at all? Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but that will change for 2020.
Hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electric — what’s the difference?
It’s easy to use the terms hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric interchangeably, but they actually refer to significant differences between vehicles. Traditional hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles are similar in that they both depend on gasoline and electric power to operate. Traditional hybrids get their electricity from an internal battery that’s typically charged while braking. Plug-in hybrids follow a similar concept but can be plugged into an electrical outlet or charging station.
Then there are electric vehicles (EVs). They’re not included on this list because electric vehicles aren’t hybrids — they run solely on electric motors powered by rechargeable battery packs — but if you’re interested in learning more, there are EVs with all-wheel drive, Tesla among them.
Ways to finance the best AWD hybrid
If you want to get an AWD hybrid but don’t quite have the cash on hand, don’t panic. There are a number of ways you can get financing to afford your vehicle, such as applying for financing through a credit union, bank or online lender. You’ll probably want to compare auto loan rates at several places before you move forward.
Getting preapproval for an auto loan before you start shopping can help your search move faster and give you the knowledge you need to get the best deal when you’re negotiating your APR. On LendingTree, this process is simple. Fill out an online form and receive up to five potential auto loan offers from lenders at once, depending on your creditworthiness.
Vehicles were chosen based on a combination of their ratings by KBB experts, consumers on Edmunds and safety groups. No vehicle that scored below a 4 out of 5 by KBB experts or consumers when available was eligible for the list. When rated, the safety rating needed to be at least a 4 by the NHTSA. The MSRP is for the hybrid version of each model.
MSRPs in the article are accurate as of the date of publishing.